It's Still Better to Buy Than Rent in These Cities

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Couple shakes hands with realtor outside new house

Mortgage or Lease?

The real-estate market is still on fire, but believe it or not, there are still places where buying a starter home is more affordable than renting, according to a new report by The average monthly cost of a starter home in January 2022 was $1,867, while the average monthly cost of a similarly sized rental was $1,789. But in 26 of the nation's 50 biggest markets, it was an average of $323 cheaper a month to buy, not rent. Here are the top 10 cities where buying, not renting, can save you the most, plus the cities where renting is still a no-brainer. 

RelatedWatch Out for These Added Costs When Buying a House

Louisville, Kentucky, USA
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10. Louisville, Kentucky

Buying, median cost per month: $916 

Renting, median cost per month: $1,200

Difference: -$284 (-23.7%)

Downtown Tampa
Kasra Keighobady/istockphoto

9. Tampa, Florida

Buying, median cost per month: $1,543

Renting, median cost per month: $2,070

Difference: -$527 (-25.5%)

Orlando, Florida Skyline

8. Orlando, Florida

Buying, median cost per month: $1,327

Renting, median cost per month: $1,820

Difference: -$493 (-27.1%)

Virginia Beach Oceanfront

7. Virginia Beach, Virginia

Buying, median cost per month: $1,091

Renting, median cost per month: $1,500

Difference: -$409 (-27.2%)

Baltimore Aerial with Patapsco River / Waterfront

6. Baltimore, Maryland

Buying, median cost per month: $1,242

Renting, median cost per month: $1,773

Difference: -$531 (-30%)

Detroit, Michigan

5. Detroit, Michigan

Buying, median cost per month: $901

Renting, median cost per month: $1,350

Difference: -$449 (-33.3%)

St. Louis downtown city skyline

4. St. Louis, Missouri

Buying, median cost per month: $812

Renting, median cost per month: $1,295

Difference: -$483 (-37.3%)

Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Skyline

3. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Buying, median cost per month: $945

Renting, median cost per month: $1,530

Difference: -$585 (-38.3%)

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2. Cleveland, Ohio

Buying, median cost per month: $809

Renting, median cost per month: $1,325

Difference: -$516 (-38.9%)

Birmingham, Alabama
Sean Pavone/istockphoto

1. Birmingham, Alabama

Buying, median cost per month: $668

Renting, median cost per month: $1,201

Difference: -$533 (-44.3%)

New Row Homes

Where It's Better to Rent

On the flip side, there are still plenty of cities where it's more economical to rent than it is to buy. Eight of those top 10 cities are big tech hubs where flexibility and studio apartments are in demand while real estate, dominated by condos with high HOA fees, is at a premium. Of the top 10 metros that favor renting, monthly home-buying costs average 41.6% — $978 — higher than renting. 

  • Austin, Texas (76.1% more to buy than rent per month)
  • New York City (52.4%)
  • San Francisco (49.1%)
  • San Jose (48.3%)
  • Seattle (39.4%)
  • Boston (37.5%)
  • Denver (34%)
  • Rochester, New York (28.5%)
  • Portland (25.5%)
  • Los Angeles (25.5%)

RelatedWhat Experts Say About Buying a Home Right Now